Dogon Marriage Ceremonial Pot
Approx Age: 1960-70
Dimensions cm: 164 tall x 57 @ widest point (approximately)
Ref. Number: M0586
A large and exquisite Dogon marriage ceremonial pot, these beautiful works of art are extremely rare. Starting at the bottom, the base is surrounded by Dogon hare masks, known as “dyommo”, the meaning of hare mask is based on the daily activities by which one survives – the hunt- but given a larger mythological meaning through symbolic expression. Survival is no small issue for the Dogon because they live in a very arid, harsh climate. Read more below for full description..
Above the hare-masks, sit six couples, the male on each of the couples having his arm around the female. The main stem in the centre of all the seated couples reaches up to the first and the largest of the bowls, this stem has acquired some insect invasion over a period of time, this looks to have been treated some time ago and no insects are present now. The centre stem has carved patterns all the way up to the top of the pot from as far down as the hare masks at the bottom, and has carved male figures at the top of the first bowl. The centre bowl has male and female figures surrounding the outer edge, and also around the outer edge of the lid, looking like they are lying down. This lid is very heavy on its own and has a pair of beautifully surmounted horses with male riders and female figures on the back looking away. Inside these two bowls is a patina made of hundreds if not thousands of hands pulling out treats from wedding festivities.
This prestigious pot is used for the purpose of weddings and no other!! On the day of a marriage ceremony the pot will be taken from the Hogon’s hut of where the ceremonial pieces are kept, unwrapped from the cloth it it is kept in and taken into the village opening where the ceremony will take place. The top half of the pot is then filled with gifts of jewellery from the family for the couple to be and the bottom bowl is filled full of treats, such as cola nuts for the guests. Then the rejoicing begins!
This was a very rare find and one that I doubt we will ever see again. Even until this present day, items of such traditional value to the elders of the Dogon are items that they would rather not sell. A majority of the Dogon have now converted to the Islamic religion and these pots now have less value (traditionally)to the younger generation and as radical extremists are spreading through Dogon villages burning and destroying Dogon artefacts these items are now being allowed to be sold by the elders when possible rather than having them destroyed.
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